Feliciano Lopez Explains Why Players Are Playing On Tour Longer - UBITENNIS
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Feliciano Lopez Explains Why Players Are Playing On Tour Longer

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Feliciano Lopez (zimbio.com)

LONDON: At the age of 35, Feliciano Lopez has no intention of retiring from the sport anytime soon. On Tuesday he knocked out world No.3 Stan Wawrinka in the first round of the Aegon Championships, claiming his 35th win against a top-10 player since 2002.

 

Lopez is one out of an army of veterans currently playing on the men’s circuit. This week the top-100 in the Emirates rankings features 41 players over the age of 30, including every player ranked in the top five. Ten years ago the number was 13 with none in the top-20.

There are many theories circulating about why the tour veterans are still shining brighter than their younger rivals. In the era of the ‘big four’ it is inevitable that the like of Roger Federer and co will still be competing over the age of 30 with their superior talent in the sport. On the other hand, Lopez believes it is something more straightforward. Players are becoming more professional with their game.

“I have been, I would say, a little bit more professional in the last five or six years, because I knew the older I get, I have to take more care of myself.” He explained.
“I see other guys in the tour that they are very professional. I see Andy, which is probably the most professional guy, taking care of every small detail in his life.
Also Roger, being injured for almost a year and coming back so strong. That’s the reason, no? I think he was also very professional, putting a lot of work in recovering his body.”

The perspective of the former world No.12 makes perfect sense, but there is still more to it than that. The ongoing advancement in technology and medical care enables players to preserve and recover their body better. Then there is rigorous exercise regimes and diets to consider.

In Lopez’s case, it was turning 30 that forced him to seek a new perspective concerning his own game. It was one that helped his impressive consistency on the tour. The Spaniard has been continuously ranked in the world’s top-50 since September 2007.

“I think after I turn 30, I knew that I have to do something different if I want to extend my career, because I was already playing (for) maybe 12 or 13 years.” Lopez said in London on Tuesday.
“I have been, I would say, a little bit more professional in the last five or six years, because I knew the older I get, I have to take more care of myself.” He added.

In recent years there has been a rise in intensity concerning Lopez’s game with him being more aggressive in matches. A tactic that aided him to his 16th ATP final in Stuttgart last week. Since turning 30, he has played nine out of those 16 finals.

“The last five or six years, I have been playing more aggressively probably. That’s because I decided to do it, and I knew that this is something I really have to do. When I was younger, I was not doing the right things on the court sometimes.”

As the oldest man in the draw, Lopez will play French qualifier Jeremy Chardy in the second round of the Aegon Championships. It is the 11th consecutive year that he has played at Queen’s, a blissful example of his longevity.

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Dominic Thiem rallies from one set down against Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the final at Thiem’s 7 in Kitzbuhel

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Dominic Thiem came back from losing the first set to beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-2 en route to reaching the final at the Thiem’s 7 tournament. Thiem earned two breaks in the third and fifth games to race out to a 4-1 lead. Bautista Agut got both breaks back in the sixth and eighth games to draw level to 4-4 forcing the match to the tie-break. The Spanish player won the tie-break 7-5 to take the opening set.

 

Thiem slowly found his rhythm again in the second set and earned two break points in the fourth game but he was not able to convert them. The home star dropped only two points on his serve until the end of the second set and converted two of the three break points to clinch the second set 6-2.

Thiem earned a break in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead and held on his next service games. The tournament organizer sealed the third set 6-2 with his double break with a blistering return on the match point in the eighth game securing his spot in the final. Thiem will face either Andrey Rublev or Matteo Berrettini in the final.

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Former Roland Garros champions and five top 20 players to highlight a great edition of the Ladies Open in Palermo

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The Ladies Open WTA International in Palermo will be the first tournament to be held next August since last February.

 

The Italian tournament will feature a great line-up which includes two confirmed past Roland Garros champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Ostapenko and five top 20 players. There is a good chance that 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep could be added in the field.

“We are glad about Simona Halep’s great interest in Palermo Ladies Open. We will be waiting for her at the Country Club for an historic edition of the Palermo tournament. We have been in contact with Halep’s manager for some time. We have been talking for days about her potential participation in Palermo. She is one of the best players in the world and her presence would contribute to make an already high-level tournament extrahordinary. We will leave our doors open to her for as long as possible, as well as for other top ten players that will want to resume their season in Palermo”, said tournament’s CEO Oliviero Palma.

The other stars who have signed up to the Ladies Open are 2019 Roland Garros champion Marketa Vondrousova, two Grand Slam semifinalists Elise Mertens (2018 Australian Open) and Anastasija Sevastova (2018 US Open), Aryna Sabalenka (winner at the Wuhan Open in 2018 and 2019, WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai in 2019 and Doha in 2020) and Elina Rybakina (winner in Hobart and finalist in St. Petersburg and Dubai in 2020), Dayana Yastremska (winner of three tournaments in Hong Kong in 2018, Thailand and Strasbourg in 2019).

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Lorenzo Sonego and Liudmila Samsonova lift the titles in Perugia

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Lorenzo Sonego and Liudmila Samsonova won the Zzz Quill Tennis Tour in Perugia. Sonego followed up his Italian title won the previous week in Todi with a 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 win over Croatia’s Viktor Galovic (world number 269 and number 7 seed) in the final of the Perugia tournament.

 

“Galovic started very well. It was difficult to adjust to his game and improve during the match. I maintained the right attitude and I managed to win the title. I enjoyed two fantastic weeks in Todi and Perugia. This confirmed my good work in training in the past two weeks. I gave my best and I am confident for the rest of the season”, said Sonego.

World number 117 Liudmila Samsonova won the women’s title came back from one set down to beat world number 307 Stefania Rubini 4-6 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in the women’s final after saving two match points.

“I won a very tough final with a lot of ups and downs. I am happy that I played many matches. It was one of my goals on the eve of the tournament. I showed that I am able to keep the level of my tennis high, when I play focused”, said Samsonova.   

 

 

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